Vitamin D is an essential nutrient we consume as well as a hormone our body produces. This is a fat-soluble vitamin and goes a long way in helping our body to absorb calcium and phosphorus — both of which are required for building healthy bones and enhancing bone health.
Sun exposure is one of the ways to get your share of vitamin D, but this might not be possible for some due to the weather, work hours or other health conditions.
A vitamin D deficiency can cause various symptoms like fatigue, back pain, muscle pain, weight gain, hair loss, among other issues. To figure out if you have a vitamin D deficiency or not, a blood test is required. And you should always consult a doctor before going for those vitamin D supplements or how to treat it.
Other than sun rays and vitamin D supplements, there are some natural sources that are high in vitamin D that you can add to your diet. Read on to find out about them.
These foods are natural sources of vitamin D
Along with being rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, oily fish are also a good source of vitamin D3. You can incorporate fatty fish — like salmon, trout, sardines, herring and mackerel — in your diet. Raw, canned, smoked, pickled, you can consume it in whichever way suits your palate.
According to Medical News Today: “Oily fish has been linked to many health benefits, including a lower risk of heart disease, improved mental ability, and protection from cancer, alcohol-related dementia, and rheumatoid arthritis.”
As per American Heart Association (AHA), one should consume a minimum of two servings of oily fish every week.
The nutritional value of eggs makes us ponder why it hasn’t been added to the superfoods category. Another way to get vitamin D naturally is by consuming whole eggs.
Apart from providing vitamin D, consuming eggs also helps in strengthening your muscles, enhancing brain health, boosting the immune system, and decreasing the risk of heart diseases, among others.
You can opt for scrambled eggs, boiled or poached eggs, and omelets. As per Mayo Clinic, a healthy individual should eat not more than seven eggs a week. Practice moderation.
Mushrooms are one of the few vitamin D sources for vegetarians. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Consuming mushrooms also reduces the risk of cancer and diabetes, along with enhancing heart health.
Mushrooms are a rich source of B vitamins (B2, B3, folate, B5), phosphorus, vitamin D, selenium, copper and potassium. You can add mushrooms to your burgers, sandwiches, pizzas, pastas, omelets, soups and salads.
Red meat includes beef, lamb, pork, goat, veal, and mutton. However, as per Medical News Today, “Some research has linked regular consumption of red meat to a number of health problems, such as heart disease, some cancers, kidney problems, digestive issues, and mortality.”
The article also went on to state that the type of red meat one chooses can make a whole lot of difference. For example: processed red meat — like bacon, hot dogs, sausage, bologna, and salami — have the highest chance of causing health issues as they contain a high amount of salt, fat, and preservatives.
It’s better to opt for leaner cuts of unprocessed red meat, which includes sirloin steaks and pork tenderloin.
It won’t be wrong to say that natural sources of vitamin D are limited, especially for those who don’t eat fish or eggs. A way out is to include fortified food items to your diet. Fortified foods are those items that have some extra nutrients, like vitamins and minerals, added to them.
You can choose from a range of options that are fortified with vitamin D like fat spreads, breakfast cereals, orange juice, soy milk, tofu, oatmeal and more. Fortified orange juice and other foods have more health benefits as well.
However, be careful and read the ingredients list before buying these foods. Look out for things like added preservatives and sugar that can be harmful.
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